COVID-19 Anniversary: To-Go Cocktails from O.C. Bartenders

Canned to go from Dough Exchange in Santa Ana

One trend we hope continues post-pandemic is grab-and-go cocktails. We talked to Jarred Dooley, director of libations at Dough Exchange/Playground, bartender Inga Tantisalidchai of Olea Newport Beach, and Strong Water owners Ying Chang-Adamson and Robert Adamson about their takeout programs.

Inga Tantisalidchai
“When designing cocktails to go, I work closely with our chef to use ingredients we already have in-house. … Finding cost-effective ways to still produce unique cocktails has allowed us to offer our guests a takeout experience … without having to do all the work. Guests have told me that even though they lack the showmanship of the bar, the quality of the drinks brings them back for more. At Olea, we have lowered the price of our specialty cocktails from our menu to $11!”

Ying Chang-Adamson
Strong Water
“Besides trying to figure out how to bring hospitality and our concept into your home, we found the extras were what makes it special—garnishes, straws, and the right ice, all in an easy-to-use format. We wanted a simple program so the guest just had to add ice to their favorite tiki mug and enjoy.”

Robert Adamson
Strong Water
“We’ve seen so many wonderful social media tags of folks in the safety of their home, thrilled with their selections, and we’re ecstatic to be a part of that. Now, we are a “tiki to go” restaurant!”

Jarred Dooley
Dough Exchange/Playground
“One of our liquor reps came around with a crowler machine (single-can seamer) and let us borrow it for a week. After the first day, we purchased one. We’ve canned all of our cocktails since! The range in can sizes that we’re able to work with allows us to package cocktails in a much more reasonable size and price. This frees us up to get creative … we didn’t feel like we had any boundaries. What really brought the program together was an ambitious 12-pack cocktail series named after ’80s rock songs. Seeing a cocktail named Easy Lover, Just Like Heaven, or Kickstart My Heart immediately translates into the song running through your head and all of the memories that go alongside it.”

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